John Hickenlooper on Crime

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrew, Aug. 2019); CO Governor


As Denver mayor, I diversified my police force

Q [to Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG]: The police force in South Bend is now 6% black in a city that is 26% black. Why has that not improved over your two terms as mayor?

BUTTIGIEG: Because I couldn't get it done. Until we move policing out from the shadow of systemic racism, we will be left with the bigger problem of the fact that there is a wall of mistrust put up one racist act at a time.

Gov. John HICKENLOOPER (former mayor of Denver): I think that the question they're asking in South Bend and I think across the country is why has it taken so long? We had a shooting when I first became mayor, 10 years before Ferguson. And the community came together and we created an Office of the Independent Monitor, a Civilian Oversight Commission, and we diversified the police force in two years. We actually did de-escalation training. I think the real question that America should be asking is why, five years after Ferguson, every city doesn't have this level of police accountability.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Record of being pro-active against police misconduct

We created an office of the independent monitor to make sure that any allegation of police misconduct -- outside the mayor's control -- got an independent assessment. We created a total comprehensive program to re-evaluate how police operated. We created the civilian oversight commission to monitor this. Then we made sure that every police officer got crisis intervention training so that they could understand when someone was in a different head, in a mental health crisis or from a foreign culture, and really began looking at, did they have non-lethal forms? I would try to make sure that the federal government was an active partner with communities all across the country to make sure that we stamp this out.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 20, 2019

Suspend death penalty; it's too random & doesn't deter

I started out [believing] an eye for an eye. I spent 14 months getting the national experts on the death penalty. It makes no sense. It's not a deterrent. It's expensive. It prolongs misery. And it's random, depending on where that crime occurs, and in many cases, whether the killer is African-American or Latino, that has a lot to do with who gets tried on a death penalty charge. The random injustice of that is something this country should never stand for. I certainly would suspend the death penalty.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 20, 2019

Issued stay of execution for convicted killer

A well-known district attorney who was lead prosecutor in the case against Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler assailed Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2013 for issuing a temporary stay of execution to convicted killer Nathan Dunlap. The next governor is free to lift the stay and Brauchler has indicated that he would.
Source: ColoradoPolitics.com on 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial race , Apr 19, 2017

Sigred bill to expunge arrest record if mistaken identity

Legislative Summary: HB1265: Expunge Arrest Records Based On Mistaken Identity

A court shall expunge the arrest and criminal records information of a person who was arrested as a result of mistaken identity, and who did not have charges filed against him or her, within ninety days of an investigation that finds that a person was arrested as a result of mistaken identity and no charges were filed. The law enforcement agency that made the arrest shall petition the district court, in the judicial district where the person was arrested, for an expungement order for the arrest and criminal records information made as a result of the mistaken identity, at no cost to the person arrested.

Legislative Outcome: Passed Senate 3/31/2016; Mike Johnston co-sponsored bill; Gov Hickenlooper signed it 6/10/2016

Source: Colorado legislative voting records: HB1265 , Jun 10, 2016

Changed mind on death penalty, to oppose it as governor

One of the bills that did NOT make it out of that legislative session was an attempt to abolish the death penalty in Colorado. My senior staff helped keep that bill from passing. Make no mistake, I wanted to see the death penalty abolished. I am against the death penalty.

Well, first I was for it. But now I am against it. Some of my detractors have criticized me for saying what I wrote right there.

My views on capital punishment changed as that third legislative session was drawing to a close, when I had to decide whether or not I was going to allow the state to carry out a mass murderer's death sentence. [He decided on an Executive Order to not use the death penalty during his gubernatorial term]. My reasons for not wanting that bill to abolish the death penalty to pass were tied to my thinking about what I would do with that order.

Source: The Opposite of Woe, by John Hickenlooper, p.320-1 , May 24, 2016

Longer minimum prison sentences do not reduce crime

Public safety is a priority for every Coloradan. We can be tough on crime while also smart about spending taxpayer money. Key Priorities: Over 25 years ago, we passed a law in Colorado doubling sentences for all crimes, leading to predictable increases in our prison populations. The hope was that longer sentences would keep the public safe, but longer minimum prison sentences do not reduce crime. If many people return to prison within 3 years of their release, we must examine our flawed, one-size-fits-all approach. We need to evaluate what services and supports can lead to better outcomes and reduce recidivism and excess costs to taxpayers
Source: 2014 Governor campaign website, HickenlooperForColorado.com , Sep 1, 2014

$34 million for violence-preventing mental health services

Part of what has gotten overlooked in the debate about guns is our work on mental health. When you look at the massacres at Columbine High School and the Aurora movie theater; and the tragedies of Platte Canyon High School, and most recently at Arapahoe High School, guns are only a piece of the puzzle. Another clear piece is mental health: Trying to identify and assist those who are feeling isolated, bullied, the mentally ill; and trite as this may sound, those who are feeling abandoned and unloved.

We allocated more than $34 million to create and bolster programs such as school-based mental health services, behavioral health community centers, and to train and staff round-the-clock mental health crisis centers.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to Colorado Legislature , Jan 9, 2014

$20M for mental health 24/7 call-in centers

Q: At Arapahoe H.S., a young man walked in with a pump shotgun. Someone that is visibly armed should not be able to get in.

HICKENLOOPER: They did have a deputy sheriff on the premise. The moment there was trouble, he was running to the scene. But there's a balance. And school administrators are trying to make a school not be a fortress. They want to be a place for education.

Q: What about the motivation of this young man?

HICKENLOOPER: There have been reports that maybe he was bullied. Last year, we put in place over $20 million for mental health 24/7 call-in centers & mobile crisis centers, and to train people how to recognize mental illness when you see it. But this kid, by all accounts, didn't exhibit the warning signs of mental illness. Obviously, it's hard to fathom why he would have done this without being somewhat crazy. But bullying does seem to be involved. We have programs now throughout the state, anti-bullying, trying to get kids to deal with that in a more constructive way.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Colorado gubernatorial race , Dec 15, 2013

Other candidates on Crime: John Hickenlooper on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019